Long a mecca for artists and other artsy types, Santa Fe makes a fun family destination, too, thanks to a great collection of museums, parks, Pueblo villages, and a restored rancheria that make history come to life. There's also plenty of adventure to keep older kids and teens entertained, from a vintage train ride and a wild animal refuge, to a chance to float in a hot air balloon over the Rio Grande Gorge. And where else can your kids eat barbecue around a campfire in a ghost town?
Most of Santa Fe's museums and activities offer extended hours during the summer, and this season also hosts many of the city's festivals. The weather is downright gorgeous -- warm, but with low humidity. All of this means you'll be competing with many other tourists for hotel rooms and rental cars, so book ahead. If you'd rather go when it's less crowded, Sante Fe's Aspen trees are a great reason to visit in the fall, when they turn a shimmering gold. The winter holidays are also a special time in Santa Fe, when galleries stay open at night, the Eastside walk is alight with luminaries, and there's a good chance of experiencing a white Christmas.
Santa Fe's high elevation means its days are warm and dry, and its nights are cool (pack jackets and sweaters). Just because Santa Fe is located in the southwest doesn't mean it enjoys warm winters: From December through February, it's relatively cool, with daytime highs in the 50s, and very cold nights in the teens and 20s. But summers average between 83 and 52 degrees. Get more weather info.
Santa Fe Municipal Airport (SAF) is the closest airport, though your best (and cheapest) option is to fly into the Albuquerque International (ABQ), which serves a dozen major airlines and is only an hour's drive to Santa Fe. Shuttle bus service is available from the airport to Sante Fe and Amtrak and Greyhound service both cities, but you might also consider renting a car.
Santa Fe has a city-wide taxi service and a public bus system that has six routes, including specially decorated buses to Museum Hill. Buses operate from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. weekdays and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays. There is no service on Sundays or holidays. If you're staying outside the downtown area or want to visit some landmarks out of the city, rent a car. Note that parking can be tight during the busy June, July and August months, and that talking on cell phones while driving is illegal.
Most major events in Santa Fe celebrate the city's unique history or are arts-related. Dates change annually, so check the event's website or find information on SantaFe.org.